Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

Anti-Fascist Archives  

AFA 24-28: The CIA, the Military & Drugs

AFA 24: The CIA, the Military & Drugs, Pt. 1
Part 1a
44:30 | Part 1b 44:48 | Part 1c 44:36 | Part 1d 44:51 | Part 1e 28:21
(Recorded on October 16, 1986)

The first of five AFA shows dealing with the intelligence community and the narcotics trade, this broadcast sets forth much of the history of this relationship. In particular, the program focuses on the role of professional, post World War II anti-communists in the growth of the heroin business.

Beginning with the Bayer company’s development of heroin as a cough-depressant and cure for morphine addiction, the program sets forth the same firm’s invention of methadone, now used to treat heroin addiction. Part of the I.G. Farben chemical firm that served as the backbone of Third Reich industrial production, Bayer (the developer of aspirin) developed methadone as a synthetic opiate for treating casualties prior to World War II. It was originally called Dolophine, in honor of Adolph Hitler!

Next the broadcast analyzes the role of opiates in the China theatre during World War II. Using the Green Gang of Tu Yueh Sheng (Shanghai-based opium traffickers), Ti Li (Chiang Kai Shek’s brutal interior minister) fused political repression with the drug trade. (For more on Chiang’s regime, see AFA-11.) Working with Chiang’s agents, operatives of the OSS (America’s World War intelligence service) grew accustomed to trading opium for hard intelligence, setting the stage for subsequent involvement of elements of U.S. intelligence with the drug trade.

When Chiang’s army succumbed to the communist forces of Mao Tse-Tung, residual elements of the Kuomintang fled to neighboring Indo-China. Receiving arms and financing from the CIA to fight against Mao, the KMT forces used the assistance to corral the Golden Triangle drug traffic instead. In Europe, anti-communist activism also helped to promote the heroin traffic.

Using the Mafia forces of Lucky Luciano against Axis sabotage on the East Coast of the United States and in aiding the Allied landing in Sicily, U.S. intelligence continued the relationship into the post-war era. Using American and Italian mobsters to subdue the vigorous Italian Communist Party, the CIA intelligence turned a blind-eye to the gangsters’ use of heroin refineries and shipping facilities to move drugs into the U.S.

In France as well, the CIA used the Corsican organized crime syndicates to suppress the powerful, communist-influenced dock workers in Marseille. (In addition to blocking munitions shipments to the Indo-China war, French communists wielded real political power in post-war France. As in Italy, the military resistance against Axis armies by the communists won them considerable political support.) As in Italy, the anti-communist efforts of the Corsicans resulted in the U.S. tacitly sanctioning the use of Marseilles as an alternate refining center when the Sicilian and Italian refineries were closed down. This quid pro quo constituted the genesis of the famed “French Connection.”

Next, the broadcast highlights the role of Col. Roger Trinquier (a French officer in the Indo-China war) in developing an opium-for-intelligence infrastructure to combat the influence of Ho Chi Minh’s communists in the early 1950’s. By trading drugs for information, Trinquier was relatively successful in reducing communist activity for a period of time, setting the stage for a revival of the opium traffic as a vehicle for combating communism during the American involvement in Vietnam. The program delineates the role of the South Vietnamese Air Force and the CIA’s Air America proprietary airline in bringing heroin into South Vietnam. While providing capital to conduct the CIA’s “secret” war in Laos, this traffic resulted in an epidemic of heroin addiction among GI’s stationed in Vietnam and, ultimately, added to the flow of the drug into the United States itself.

Program Highlights Include: the role of Nguyen Cao Ky (who ultimately became Vice-President of the short-lived South Vietnamese Republic) in directing the Vietnamese heroin shipments; the involvement of American gangsters associated with the Meyer Lansky syndicate and the French Connection traffic (such as Santos Trafficante) in the Southeast Asian drug trade; Richard Nixon’s role in promoting American funding of a Pepsi-Cola bottling facility that was to evolve into the largest heroin refining facility in Southeast Asia; the involvement of CIA officers Theodore Shackley, Thomas Clines and Lucien Conein in the Southeast Asian intelligence-heroin milieu.

AFA 25: The CIA, the Military & Drugs, Pt. 2
Part 2a
44:34 | Part 2b 44:28 | Part 2c 44:15 | Part 2d 44:29 | Part 2e 18:30
(Recorded December 3, 1986)

This program focuses on the relationship between the intelligence community and the arms-for-drugs trade. Relatively well publicized after the Iran-Contra scandal came to light, this relationship has existed for some time. The broadcast begins with discussion of the Nugan Hand Bank, a combined CIA and Naval Intelligence operation supervised under the jurisdiction of Task Force 157, and ONI subsidiary run by Edwin Wilson (see AFA-4.) Deeply involved in the Southeast Asian drug traffic, the Bank also served as a funding source for covert operations, including the destabilization of the Australian Labor Party government of Gough Whitlam. The bank’s key officials consisted largely of former high-ranking U.S. military and intelligence officials.

Next, the program highlights the operations of Alberto Sicilia Falcon, a Cuban-American deeply involved in cross-border guns and drugs operations between the U.S. and Mexico. Apparently involved in the destabilization of the Echeverria government in Mexico, Falcon counted among his associates Sam “Mo-Mo” Giancana, the late Mafia boss of Chicago. His operations were conducted in conjunction with elements of the U.S. intelligence community.

The program then sets forth an apparent operation involving the Latin American drug traffic and a plan to manufacture the Ingram Mac 10 and Mac 11 machine pistols in Costa Rica. These weapons, manufactured by veteran covert operations veteran Mitch Wer Bell (nicknamed “the Wizard of Whispering Death”), were to be assembled for the use of Latin American death squads. The names of Florida Mafia Boss Santos Trafficante and fugitive financier Robert Vesco also crop up in connection with this scheme. Much of the program consists of a re-broadcast of a long section of AFA-20, dealing with one of the most important arms-for-drugs rings, the Stibam operation.

AFA 26: The CIA, the Military & Drugs, Pt. 3
The Great Heroin Coup
Part 3a 45:18 | Part 3b 39:57 | Part 3c 40:04 | Part 3d 30:04
(Recorded January 27, 1987)

This program focuses on the cooperative role of elements of the intelligence community and the U.S. narcotics enforcement apparatus in regulating, not interdicting, the illegal trade in narcotics. The title refers to Danish journalist Henrik Kruger’s appellation for an apparent gambit, through which the Nixon administration, elements of the CIA and elements of U.S. law enforcement diminished the role of Corsican gangsters in the international heroin trade. This stratagem strengthened the role of American gangsters in the heroin traffic. Those gangsters were, not coincidentally, connected to both the Nixon administration and the CIA.

Much of the story revolves around Christian David, a Corsican gangster employed by various intelligence services, including the CIA. David was ultimately brought to heel by the U.S., as part of the interdiction operation against the Corsicans. Kruger argues that an apparent “crackdown” by the Nixon administration on the heroin trade was, in fact, a covert operation. In addition to reducing the role of the Corsicans in the heroin trade, the Nixon administration’s crackdown appears to have served as a front for supporting death squad activity in Latin America. The program highlights the role of intelligence elements whose names later became well-known in the Iran-Contra affair.

Another major element of discussion is an arms-and-drug smuggling operation entitled “The Company.” The name is (perhaps coincidentally) a CIA-insiders’ nickname for the Agency. (The criminal enterprise of the same name, discussed in this broadcast, may very well have been connected with an element of the agency.)

Program Highlights Include: Christian David’s involvement with the Latin American drug network of the Corsican gangster and Nazi collaborator Auguste Ricord; Veteran CIA operative Lucien Conein’s employment as head of the Nixon administration’s assassination apparatus (ostensibly to be employed against drug traffickers); the apparent employment of the Conein operation as a para-fascist terror apparatus in Latin America; the apparent role of the Conein apparatus as a vehicle for eliminating traffickers competing with Nixon organized crime allies; CIA officer Theodore Shackley’s operations (apparently) conducted in conjunction with the drug trade (Shackley’s name became well known during the Iran-Contra affair); CIA officer Thomas Clines’ involvement in operations with Shackley (Clines’ name also figured in the Iran-Contra revelations); the operational backgrounds of Shackley, Clines and Conein in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War; hit-man Charles Harrelson’s charge that elements of the DEA had Judge John Wood killed (Harrelson was convicted of killing Wood); Harrelson’s claim of first-hand knowledge of the assassination of President Kennedy; Harrelson’s operations on behalf of “The Company;” connections between “The Company” and organized-crime figures from the JFK assassination milieu; “The Company” and the smuggling of weaponry from the top-secret China Lake Naval Weapons Station; “The Company’s” trafficking of the China Lake weaponry to Libya (Shackley and Clines were involved with “ex” CIA operative Ed Wilson’s operations on behalf of Khadafy.) (Recorded on 1/27/87.)

AFA 27: The CIA, the Military & Drugs, Pt. 4

Part 4a 46:08 | Part 4b 38:11 | Part 4c 41:16 | Part 4d 46:42 | Part 4e 36:20
(Recorded March 15, 1987)

Developing a line of inquiry presented in the preceding broadcast, this program focuses on narco-terrorism in Latin America. Particular emphasis is on intelligence-related elements that figured in the Iran-Contra scandal, anti-Castro Cubans in particular. Much of the discussion centers on activities that took place when George Bush was in charge of the CIA.

After reviewing the Latin American narcotics network of Corsican gangster and Third Reich collaborator Auguste Ricord, the broadcast focuses on the role of Ricord associate Klaus Barbie in the 1980 “Cocaine Coup” in Bolivia. The Gestapo chief of Lyons (France) during the war, Barbie found post-war employment with American intelligence, first with the Army’s Counter Intelligence Corps, and later with the CIA.

With the aid of elements of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon, Barbie and a group of fascist terrorists associated with the narcotics trade overthrew the Bolivian government and established a dictatorship under General Garcia-Meza. Under this regime, the business of cocaine kingpin Roberto Suarez thrived, aided by Barbie and his “bridegrooms of death.” Doubling as para-fascist terrorists and enforcers for the government, Barbie and his cutthroats aided the bloody suppression of trade unions and the political left in the coup’s aftermath.

Barbie’s cocaine mercenaries included some interesting individuals. German-born Joachim Fiebelkorn (a neo-Nazi and informant for the Drug Enforcement Agency) was joined with Italian fascists, such as Pierluigi Pagliai (a member of the infamous P-2 lodge discussed in AFAs 18,19) and the notorious fascist Stefano Delle Chiaie, a principal architect of the “strategy of tension.”

The strategy of tension (a major focal point of AFA-19) was an out-cropping of what Danish journalist Henrik Kruger termed “the International Fascista.” (Kruger is the author of The Great Heroin Coup: Drugs, Intelligence and International Fascism, published in softcover by the South End Press of Boston, copyright 1980. Mr. Emory views the work as the best individual volume ever written on the subject of the intelligence community and the narcotics trade.) A consortium of fascists in Europe and Latin America, International Fascista included numerous Latin death squad elements, elements of U.S. intelligence and the Paladin mercenary group (funded by Libyan dictator Khadafy, as well as the weapons empire of SS officer and sometime CIA operative Otto Skorzeny.) A principal figure in the postwar ODESSA organization, Skorzeny is discussed at considerable length in AFA-22.

One of the major cogs of the International Fascista was CORU, arguably the most militant and deadly of the anti-Castro Cuban organizations. CORU was involved in a string of bombings, assassinations and terrorist attacks in the mid 1970’s, including the 1976 assassination of Orlando Letelier in Washington D.C. CORU’s reign of terror took place when George Bush was director of the CIA, and an element of the agency appears to have been involved with it.

Program Highlights Include: “Operation Condor” (an international assassination consortium of Latin American dictatorships); a number of assassinations and attempted assassinations conducted under “Condor;” Argentine fascist and P-2 lodge member Jose Lopez Rega; Italian fascist and Skorzeny associate Prince Justo Valerio Borghese; former Goebbels Propaganda Ministry official Gerhard Hartmut Von Schubert (the operating manager of the Paladin group); Paladin’s overlap with Spanish intelligence and the CIA; Operation Condor’s attempts at disguising its acts as left-wing terror; the position of the World Anti-Communist League in the milieu set forth in this broadcast

AFA 28: The CIA, the Military & Drugs, Pt. 5
Part 5a
46:15 | Part 5b 45:52 | Part 5c 42:56 | Part 5d 45:11 | Part 5e 11:25
(Recorded April 26, 1987)

Beginning with the CIA’s research into LSD as part of its investigation of mind control techniques, this broadcast highlights the profound role of the intelligence community in the dissemination of hallucinogens and the development of the recreational culture attached to their use.

The CIA and military experimented with the drug (LSD) in a variety of clinical and social environments.

The first of the LSD “evangelists” was not Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey or Aldous Huxley but a CIA (and former OSS) officer named Al “Cap” Hubbard.

In addition to producing psychotic and (in some cases) lethal results, this experimentation also served to infiltrate the drug into intellectual and popular culture. Writers Aldous Huxley, Ken Kesey and Allen Ginsberg were introduced to the drug (directly or indirectly) through the national security establishment’s LSD experimentation programs.

Timothy Leary’s early research into LSD was subsidized, to some extent, by the CIA. Later, Leary’s LSD proselytization was greatly aided by William Mellon Hitchcock, a member of the powerful Mellon family. The financing of the Mellon-Leary collaboration was effected through the Castle Bank, a Caribbean operation that was deeply involved in the laundering of CIA drug money.

After moving to the West Coast, Leary hooked up with a group of ex-surfers, the Brotherhood of Eternal Love. This group became the largest LSD synthesizing and distributing organization in the world. Their “chief chemist” was a curious individual named Ronald Hadley Stark. An enigmatic, multi-lingual and well-traveled individual, Stark worked for the CIA, and appears to have been with the agency when he was making the Brotherhood’s acid. The quality of his product projected the Brotherhood of Eternal Love into its leadership role in the LSD trade. Stark also operated in conjunction with the Italian intelligence/fascist milieu described in AFA #’s 17-21.

The broadcast underscores the possibility that LSD and other hallucinogens may have been disseminated, in part, in order to diffuse the progressive political activism of the 1960’s.

Program Highlights Include: CIA director Allen Dulles’ promotion of psychological research by the Agency; the work of CIA physician Dr. Sidney Gottlieb for the Agency’s Technical Services Division; connections between Stark and the kidnapping and assassination of Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro; Stark’s mysterious death in prison while awaiting trial; Leary’s connections to the milieu of the “left” CIA and the role those connections appear to have played in Leary’s flight from incarceration; the CIA’s intense interest in (and involvement with) the Haight-Ashbury scene of the 1960s. (Recorded on 4/26/87.)


One comment for “AFA 24-28: The CIA, the Military & Drugs”

  1. Great Series! It inspired me to buy & read the great Heroin coup.
    This article by Doug Valentine is a great supplement
    also this archival piece from 1976 on Lucien Conein is fun

    Posted by Hugo Turner | September 20, 2016, 10:22 pm

Post a comment